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Rubblebucket to funk up the Iron Horse Saturday

As their name implies, Rubblebucket, formerly Rubblebucket Orchestra includes more than just a guitarist, drummer and singer.  But beyond the number of instruments involved, any similarities to a classical orchestra disappear abruptly when the stage lights go down.  Formed in 2007, the band fuses wind, percussion, strings and vocals to create a sound that has been described as everything from trip-rock to psychedelic afrobeat, with a little funk on the side.  Rubblebucket is truly one of a kind.

The ensemble is set to play at the Iron Horse in Northampton this Saturday, Feb. 13 at 10 p.m.

Rubblebucket consists of eight members in its horn and wind ensemble, backing up the vocals of lead singer Kalmia Traver. Occasionally the band has guest artists on its tour, who jam with them on stage.

Having produced two albums to date, the band has garnered praise from several media outlets. So far they have been named “Best Band of 2008” by Seven Days Vermont, a title previously held by Phish in 2003 and 2004. After winning Relix Magazine’s Jam-Off Competition in the same year, the band has built up quite a reputation; a reputation it will hopefully live up to this coming Saturday.

The afrobeat meets rock jam band has been inspired by bands like the Talking Heads, Bjork, Fela Kuti and Portishead, but Rubblebucket brings an energy to their music that is new and refreshing, leaving the listener with a smooth aftertaste that soothes the soul.

Rubblebucket’s debut album, “Rose’s Dream,” was released in 2008 and, as a result of its success, was quickly followed by their second album, “Rubblebucket,” in October of last year. Deli Magazine of New England gave the new album a glowing review following its release, mentioning the ensemble’s “vibrant soul of a funk band, magical vocals, spirit-possessing percussion that makes your feet move before your head tells them too and unique lyrics of poetic grade.”

The band first came together when trumpeter Alex Toth and vocalist/saxist Kalmia Traver met percussionist Craig Myers in what has been called by the band “an unforgettable jam session/party in Burlington, Vt.’s Hood Plant.” This night inspired the trio to start, as Toth describes it, “a big crazy band.” And so Rubblebucket Orchestra was born.

Myers, whose drumming inspired the afrobeat rhythm commonly associated with the band, studied West African percussion for 10 years before the epic jam session.

Trombonist Adam Dotson eventually joined Toth, Traver and Myers when Toth met Dotson at a Fourth of July parade in Cambridge, Mass.

Eventually the crew was joined by drummer, guitarist and keyboardist Dave Cole, keyboardist Darby Wolf, bassist Mark Stewart and guitarist Ian Hersey.

Better bring your dancing shoes … This is going to be one wild show.

Rubblebucket will be playing on Saturday at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass. Doors open at 10 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door.

Tappan Parker can be reached at rtparker@student.umass.edu.

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